Keeping the workplace safe

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Keeping the workplace safeCLAIRE RENCKEN takes a look at some basic measures that can assist businesses to keep their places of work safe.

Training and supervision

Providing the correct training and supervision allows workers to do their jobs properly and safely. Induction sessions, as well as site and task-specific training must be given to workers when they are employed at a company and should, at a minimum, cover the following:

• The people who have specific workplace safety responsibilities;

• How to report hazards or other safety issues;

• The safe work procedures for the job;

• The available information to help workers to do their job safely (for instance a machine operators’ manual).

Supervision is required to ensure health and safety in the workplace. The level of supervision required depends on the age and experience of the workers and the hazards associated with their tasks. Young and inexperienced workers will usually require a higher level of supervision.

Consultation

Employers who consult with their workers will gain a better idea of the hazards that are present in their workplace. It is also a legal requirement to consult with workers when making decisions that will affect their health or safety.

Consulting with workers on health and safety issues demonstrates an employer’s commitment, and will encourage workers to communicate with them regarding any health and safety concerns they may have.

Risk management

Employers should assess the risks to health and safety in their workplace including: identifying any health and safety hazards; assessing the risks; eliminating or controlling these risks; and monitoring and reviewing the control measures to ensure ongoing safety.

Reporting procedure

Setting up a procedure for workers to report safety issues, hazards, incidents, injuries and illnesses will assist an employer to: identify potential issues early; understand why incidents happened; decide how to prevent future incidents; measure how well safe work procedures are working; and meet requirements for reporting workplace injuries and incidents.